The Boxcars - The Boxcars
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The Boxcars (Mountain Home, 2010)

The Boxcars

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

If you've ever sat in an audience and watched Adam Steffey or Ron Stewart, you know you're seeing two of the best musicians in the business and nothing in their debut CD will dissuade you. They're joined by former Alison Kraus - and later Isaacs - band member John Bowman, Keith Garrett (Blue Moon Rising) and Harold Nixon (J D Crowe/Blue Moon Rising).

Their song selection is pure bluegrass and mostly new music. While fans of the genre often demonstrate their love of tried-and-true songs, it's refreshing to hear a slate of new numbers that don't "push the edge" of bluegrass. Flatt & Scruggs could have performed any of these numbers. It's interesting to note that the majority of them are home grown: Lead singer Keith Garrett wrote five of them and Ron Stewart wrote or co-wrote four.

The heart-grabber is In God's Hands, a story about a mother who loses her baby. A close second is a lament about lost opportunities that could easily be played on country stations, Never Played The Opry. Garrett, singing lead, sounds so much like Alan Jackson on this song that it's uncanny - you'll be checking the cover for a guest appearance.

Other songs are new, but share some common bluegrass themes, such as I Went Back Home Today and the hard driving Take Me On The Midnight Train. The one number they include that longtime fans may recognize is Log Cabin In The Lane, a variation on an old Bill Monroe number.

Excellent picking and singing, good song selection, good studio work - a combination that can't be beat.

CDs by The Boxcars

Familiar With The Ground, 2016 All In, 2012 The Boxcars, 2010

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